Friday, April 20, 2012

Quiet Contentment

Today is truly an lovely day! This morning I took the boys outside and as they ran around catching bugs and exploring as little boys do I had some time to read my Bible and crochet. Isn't my Granny Stripe blanket coming along nicely? Everything around me was so merry and bright- my baby cooing beside me, birds singing happy little songs, bees busy collecting, and the sunlight dancing over everything. In my heart was just a lovely quiet contentment- resting in my Savior and the joy of little children. It reminded me of this thought-provoking quote by Jeremiah Burroughs:

"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."

My heart has been very fretful and restless lately, burdened with fears and worries. This morning reminded me that I was not trusting the Lord for His care of me. I pray today that the quote above would be true in my own heart- that I would have the same quiet and restful heart always as I did this morning.

I hope that your morning was as lovely as mine!

(The quote above is from a wonderful book by Jeremiah Burroughs called "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment". You can read the whole book for free here.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Making a Beautiful and Happy Home

"A true home is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world's perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which, at close of day--the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place . . .
  where love learns its lessons,
  where life is schooled into discipline and strength,
  where character is molded.

Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing--as the making of a beautiful and happy home! He who does this--builds a sanctuary for God, and opens a fountain of blessing for men.

Far more than we know--do the strength and beauty of our lives, depend upon the home in which we dwell. He who goes forth in the morning from a happy, loving, prayerful home--into the world's strife, temptation, struggle, and duty--is strongly inspired for noble and victorious living.

The children who are brought up in a true home--go out trained and equipped for life's battles and tasks--carrying a secret of strength in their hearts, which will make them brave and loyal to God, and will keep them pure in the world's severest temptations!"

J.R. Miller

God has been so gracious to me in teaching me so many things. Lately, He has been pressing on my heart the importance of doing what He has set before me for His glory alone. My heart does not need to be concerned with what others think or do but just to be concerned with how pleasing I am to Him. I must serve Him in every task with a heart of rest. Perfect rest and peace- like a baby content to lean on his mother. In this great business of homemaking and mothering, my heart must first be right with the Lord. I must have a heart that is still- resting in trust upon the Lord. I must lean upon Christ.

Then, my business is to make our home full of beauty, love, and joy which points to the Savior. In order to make this possible, I must check what is feeding my soul and the soul of my family. Am I careful what I bring into my home both physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally? I am beginning to see how this trickles down to even to the tiniest detail. What is the tone of my voice and my words? What books do my children look at? What toys do they play with? What does my cleaning say about our home? What colors are in my home? How is my furniture arranged? Does all point to the beauty and truth found in Scripture? All these tiny details add up together to paint a picture. What is that picture saying to my family? Does it say that this home is a beautiful sanctuary for God where one can rest? Or does it speak of haste, neglect, and lack of concern? Is their life filled with what is most convenient/popular or with what is most glorifying to God? Is their life filled with the disposable or with what will last longer than a week? Am I striving to bring beauty, truth, and love to my home or have I ceased to care and am just surviving?

God is so gracious in showing these things to me. But, I am rambling on with all these thoughts. He says it best:

    "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9 ESV)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

All that thrills my soul...

Who can cheer the heart like Jesus,
By His presence all divine?  
True and tender, pure and precious,
O how blest to call Him mine!  

All that thrills my soul is Jesus;  
He is more than life to me;  
And the fairest of ten thousand,  
In my blessed Lord I see.  

Love of Christ so freely given.  
Grace of God beyond degree,  
Mercy higher than the heaven,  
Deeper then the deepest sea.  

All that thrills my soul is Jesus;  
He is more than life to me;  
And the fairest of ten thousand,  
In my blessed Lord I see.  

What a wonderful redemption!  
Never can a mortal know  
How my sin, tho' red like crimson,  
Can be whiter than the snow.  

All that thrills my soul is Jesus;  
He is more than life to me;  
And the fairest of ten thousand,  
In my blessed Lord I see.  

Every need His hand supplying,  
Every good in Him I see;  
On His strength divine relying,  
He is all in all to me.  

All that thrills my soul is Jesus;  
He is more than life to me;  
And the fairest of ten thousand,  
In my blessed Lord I see.  

By the crystal flowing river  
With the ransomed I will sing,  
And forever and forever  
Praise and glorify the King.

All that thrills my soul is Jesus;  
He is more than life to me;  
And the fairest of ten thousand,  
In my blessed Lord I see.
-Thoro Harris

This is a new hymn that I have discovered lately. How precious are its truths! "How blest to call Him mine"

I find myself reflecting too on the phrase "He is more than life to me". I realize that my life does not always look like I am living in that mentality. My prayer today is God would give me wisdom and grace so that I will be free to say "He is more than life to me".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

For this Purpose

    “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28 ESV)

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:16-17 ESV)

    "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering..." (Isaiah 53:4-6,10 NASB)

   "In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which he set forth in Christ." (Ephesians 1:7-9 ESV)

     "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
   And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death..." (Colossians 1:15-22 ESV)

Christ…had goings forth for his people, as their representative before the throne, even before they were begotten in the world. It was from everlasting that his mighty fingers grasped the pen, the stylus of ages, and wrote his own name, the name of the eternal Son of God; it was from everlasting that he signed the compact with his Father, that he would pay blood for blood, wound for wound, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of his people; it was from everlasting that he gave himself up, without a murmuring word, that from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot he might sweat blood, that he might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, suffer the pain of death, and the agonies of the cross. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hadst goings forth in the person of Jesus from everlasting. Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but his delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did he think of them; from everlasting to everlasting he had set his affection upon them. What! Believer, has he been so long about thy salvation, and will he not accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will he lose me now? What! has he had me in his hand, as his precious jewel, and will he now let me slip between his precious fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep scooped out, and will he lose me now? Impossible!
'My name from the palms of his hands
Eternity cannot erase;
Impress'd on his heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.'"
Charles Spurgeon

There is nothing else to be said, is there? Hallelujah!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Herein is Love

In contemplating the cross this week for Holy Week, I am left utterly shaken. What love is this? I join with Spurgeon is saying "love beyond degree"...

O LORD, my God and Savior -
Mockery was a great ingredient to your woes.
Judas mocked You in the Garden;
the chief priests and scribes laughed you to scorn;
Herod set you at nought;
the servants and the soldiers jeered and harassed you with brutal insults;
Pilate and his guards ridiculed Your royalty, even though it was truth;
and on Your cross—where you bled through your hands, your feet, your brow—all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at You.
Such ridicule is always hard to bear, but all the more when we are in intense agony.
And all the more when it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick.
As I picture you hanging on Your cross, my great God and Savior crucified, I cannot bear the thought. Your frail and beaten Self was racked with anguish far beyond all mortal guess. A motley mob wagged their heads and thrusted out the lip in bitterest contempt and insult toward you, a suffering victim. So humble a Savior!

O Jesus, “despised and rejected of men,” “acquainted with grief and sorrow,” how could You die for men who treated You so ill, so poorly, so horridly? How? Herein is love so amazing, love divine, yes, love beyond degree! We, too, have despised You in the days of our own unregenerate state, and even since our new birth we have set the world on high in our hearts, and yet You bled to heal our wounds and died to give us life.

Oh, that we could set You on a glorious high throne in all men’s hearts! We would ring out Your praises over land and sea till men should as universally adore as once they did unanimously reject.
Your creatures wrong You, Oh sovereign LORD! And yet, Your grace comes down to us like a river from that Cross. You died and rose again that we might do the same. So we run to you, from the foot of that cross to the foot of Your throne, hearts bursting forth with thanksgiving and praise, “Oh God, take me! Like You there is no other! My life is purchased and Yours!”

- Charles H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

   " In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." (Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV)

This week I am planning time to pause and contemplate the cross. Isn't our Saviour altogether lovely?

Do you plan to spend time this week contemplating the cross? How do you in your family?